Tuesday, 15 August 2017

'The Clouds are Her Chariot' - The Feast of the Assumption, August 15


August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and below are a couple of brief quotations relating to the feast connected with the monastery of Bobbio. Bobbio was, of course, founded by the Irish Saint Columbanus. In the late seventeenth century, a visiting Benedictine monk, Jean Mabillon, visited Bobbio and discovered in its library a wonderful codex dating from a thousand years earlier. The 'Bobbio Missal', as the codex is now known, has been described as 'one of the most intriguing liturgical manuscripts that were produced in Merovingian Francia'. Earlier generations of scholars were keen to assert a firm Irish provenance for this seventh-century Gallican liturgy, but modern scholars have failed to prove any direct Irish link, apart from the manuscript's location at Bobbio. In her 1938 historical account of Irish devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Helena Concannon quoted some snippets from it relating to today's feast:


From the Mass for the Feast of the Assumption found in the Bobbio Missal:

"...her soul is wreathed with various crowns; the apostles render sacred homage to her, the angels intone their canticles, Christ embraces her, the clouds are her chariot, paradise her dwelling, where, decked with glory, she reigns amidst the virgin-choirs."

From a Sermon on the Assumption Preached at Bobbio:

“Celebrating today (the preacher says) the Assumption of the Holy Mother Mary, dearest Brethern, it behoves you to rejoice in spirit, in that God has willed for your salvation to raise her from the earthly dwellings to the heavenly mansions. The Mother of Our Lord is assumed today by God, the Creator of all things, to the heavenly kingdom, and she who by her chaste child-bearing brought life to the human race, today ascends to Heaven to pray to God at all times for us. Let it be our prayer, whilst we keep the day of the Assumption, that she may assist us by her merits, and may protect us from the snares of Satan, that so through her we may deserve to attain the joys of Paradise.”

The Queen of Ireland – An Historical Account of Ireland's Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by Mrs Helena Concannon (Dublin, 1938), 41-42.


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